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"Awakening," "Valentine," "Anniversary," & "Throne" by Siân Killingsworth


the bed shifts as we turn

pastel sheets draped

trailing to the floor

like statuary

a show of modesty


the sun dazzles away

all secrets

I can feel every ridge

of your fingerprints on me

my hands are hungry too

gorging on your skin, its heat

your silky hair and rough heels

even my nails vibrate

with your pulse

as I drag them gently

so lightly

across your ribs

one by one

a ladder

my fingers stepping up

and down

your breath

so sharp and fast


We live within each other moored in time

as mussels anchor to black rock.

Valves open / shut / open

Oils on your fingertips transfer to my skin—

startling in the light, we tuck and turn in nests.

Word is body is water.

Grit in cuticles. Ardor and expectation.

Trees blown sideways, green fronds are ragged shrieks

of joy, echoing through the streaming heat.


back at home after 4 years we are broke from moving and no work and injury and stress and have no money for gifts but it’s our anniversary so we have to celebrate even though we can hardly pay for the gas to get us to the restaurant and we have not one but two kids now and one of them can’t even eat real food yet but we have a lot to be grateful for a lot to put in a toast but this restaurant doesn’t serve alcohol which is a bit of a relief in fact because we can get a cheap bottle of wine at the grocery store and drink it at home later so we go up to the glossy cream colored counter and order anything we want but definitely the combo meal because you get more bang for your buck and I want the crunchwrap supreme combo with a diet pepsi and he gets the burrito supreme combo with a sierra mist and we decide to go crazy and get some nachos with plenty of fire sauce and what the hell a bag of cinnamon twists too which means we will definitely be too full to have sex but it’s totally worth it and we will have many more anniversaries and we are most definitely in a happy place right now we love each other so much we don’t even mind sharing bites of everything and the kids are quiet for once and happy with a quesadilla and a bottle of formula respectively so it’s a pretty good anniversary, actually.


we stride down 7th Avenue eyes seeking my landmarks

only quickly as if our eyes might freeze in place I keep

hitting home, my hand in your pocket we enter climb up

to grey third-floor through windows the flaking-orange fire

escape to sit & drink wine good spirits over the city

the wind lifts our hair & fingers through our scalps

chiding our lack of woolly hats & scarves dripping fringe

preening pavement sparkling with frost March is nearly over

near & distant windows blink at us through violet haze

in the evening, lovers & office workers heading home

we pause in reddening sun, feel the city spinning as though

from far off & I feel your heat my hand on glass feet on steel

you are silent absorbing this home we breathe

together a glory full of unspeakable

Siân Killingsworth (she/her) has been published in Roi Fainéant Press, Typehouse Literary Journal, Stonecoast Review, Glass: A Journal of Poetry (Poets Resist), & elsewhere. She is the Anthology Editor for the Marin Poetry Center, host/curator of the Second Sunday Readings series, and a poetry reader for the Kitchen Table Quarterly. Find her on Twitter: @sianessa and @2ndSundayPoetry, and on Mastodon

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